DHAKA, June 20 (Xinhua) -- High interest rates and a lack of financial literacy are highlighted as major obstacles to factories in the Bangladeshi Ready Made Garment (RMG) sector from obtaining remediation financing, according to a report launched in Dhaka Monday.
Entitled Remediation financing in Bangladesh's Ready Made Garment Sector: An Overview, the report was jointly commissioned by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and International Labor Organization (ILO) to analyse the cost of safety remediation for structural, electrical, and fire safety work in RMG factories, as well as the ability of factories to finance this work.
According to the report, interest rates that can range from 9 percent to 18 percent were cited as a barrier to carrying out remediation.
Meanwhile RMG owners also need support to present audited balance sheets, profit and loss statements and cash flow projections to banks and prospective investors.
Wendy Werner, country manager of IFC Bangladesh, said, "It's imperative for the RMG sector in Bangladesh to realize the significance of remediation finance and, respective factories ought to look at expenditure for safety as an investment. Once compliance levels are respected, buyers will have more confidence, leading to overall industry expansion."
Gagan Rajabhandari, deputy director of ILO Bangladesh, said, "Only when remediation is completed will the safety of workers in export-oriented RMG factories be ensured. Efforts are needed to ensure that financing is available and accessible for all RMG businesses; however, those which are already able to self-finance this work or access loans should do so without delay."
According to the study, the cost of remediation if the factory does not need extensive structural retrofitting work can range from 20,000 U.S. dollars to 900,000 U.S. dollars .
The total remediation cost for 80 percent of factories ranges between 100,000 U.S. dollars and 250,000 U.S. dollars. It is estimated that 75 percent of factories in Bangladesh will not need large structural retrofitting work, and therefore will fall within this range.
A number of other recommendations including a better understanding of facilities such as the Green Re-financing scheme and the provision of additional financing from the government and development partners are also made in the study.
Over the last two years it is estimated that remediation activities worth some 294 million U.S. dollars have been carried out in the Bangladesh RMG sector through the actions of the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety and individual factory owners.
The study also includes a review of Bangladesh's banking sector and the credit facilities recently developed by international organizations such as IFC, JICA, AFD and USAID, which make available some 187 million dollars specifically for RMG remediation.
Following the Bangladesh's worst ever industrial tragedy (Rana Plaza collapse) in April 2013, efforts began to inspect all export-oriented RMG factories throughout Bangladesh for structural, electrical and fire safety by the Accord, Alliance and the national initiative support by the ILO with funding from Canada, the Netherlands and Britain.
By the end of December 2015, the inspection process was complete with 3,632 factories surveyed by the three initiatives. Enditem